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The European Commission prefers a reformist government, but it depends on the Greeks

16 December 2014 / 19:12:46  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

The European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici had preferred to visit Greece in the midst of a serious political crisis, which is likely to end in early elections and the far left SYRIZA party coming to power.

After meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the Ministers of Finance, Development, Employment and Administrative Reform, Moscovici gave a press conference at which he declined to comment on the political situation in the country.

Immediately afterwards, however, he added that the European Commission prefers governments with a reformist orientation, stressing, "We respect the democratic choice of the people in every country in Europe. We talk with each European government. But, of course, our priority is to preserve the integrity of the euro area, the reform policies and the trust between Europe and the member states."

Asked why he had not requested to meet with the leader of SYRIZA during his visit to Athens, the Commissioner replied, "This is a working visit, which is associated with the Eurogroup decision on the technical extension of the bailout to Greece. My job is to meet with the elected government. If Mr. Tsipras wants to meet in Brussels in the coming days or weeks, he is welcome."

Pierre Moscovici stressed the progress made by Greece in terms of the fiscal consolidation and expressed confidence that Athens will be able to carry out the remaining reforms that will create an economic environment favourable for investment. "Only they and the adoption of additional measures for budget cuts will allow us to quickly complete the second bailout programme to Greece," the commissioner said.

He stressed that Greece's place in the euro area is beyond doubt and in response to the question as to whether the European Commission has a plan "B" if a new extension is required, he said, "Personally, I hate 'B' plans. Let us concentrate on the 'A' plan."

According to Moscovici, if the monitoring on the state of the Greek economy is successfully completed by the end of February 2015 the supervisory Troika will leave Greece and it will enter a new phase of relations with the creditors.

"The crisis has given rise to serious problems for the majority of people, but this was not caused by Europe. The pressing reforms aimed at changing the previously wrong economic model of Greece, which requires strict adherence to budgetary discipline and continuation of reforms," said Pierre Moscovici.

He said that it would be a pity if the changes that are already bearing fruits stop, stressing that the European Commission will continue to support Greece with technical assistance on reforms.

During his visit, the Commissioner visited the construction of the Athens underground station in the suburb of Korydallos, which is co-financed with EU funds. Shortly before leaving for Brussels, he had lunch with Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris, with whom he discussed how the local government considers the reforms.

Tags: PoliticsEuropean Commissioner for Economic AffairsPierre MoscoviciVisitGreecePress conference
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